Andrew Garve was one of the pen-names used by a left-leaning journalist called Paul Winterton. His early publications included A Student in Russia and Eye-Witness on the Soviet War-front, but he became one of the most reliable purveyors of mysteries and thrillers in the immediate post-war era. A founder member of the CWA, he was also its first secretary, holding the office jointly with Elizabeth Ferrars. He also used the pseudonyms of Roger Bax and, later, Paul Somers. But Garve is the name associated with his most successful work.
This includes the first Garve book I ever read (because his friend, that great judge Julian Symons, rated it highly), The Megstone Plot. This story, with a nice fake-blackmail plan, was filmed as A Touch of Larceny, a movie that crops up on television from time to time, although I have never managed to see it.
In 1997, I was commissioned by Chivers to write an introduction for their reissue of Prisoner’s Friend, a lively if straightforward thriller Garve wrote 35 years earlier, in their excellent Black Dagger series. It was no masterpiece, but still a book that exemplified Garve’s competence as a story-teller.
When I attended the Las Vegas Bouchercon, a few years back, someone on a panel concerning the collecting of crime fiction suggested that Garve would become increasingly collectible in years to come. As far as I can tell from internet book prices, this has yet to happen. But Garve, who died in 2001 but gave up writing long before then, was a capable practitioner and I’ve bought a few more of his paperbacks to check him out in more detail.